Carson City school board OKs new classrooms at middle school
The Carson City school board last week approved a capital projects plan that includes the construction of classrooms for Eagle Valley Middle School to ease overcrowding at Carson Middle School.
The Eagle Valley construction will be financed by $8.2 million in bond sales completed by the school district as of Thursday, Chief Financial Officer Andrew Feuling confirmed.
District officials have been discussing overcrowding expected at Carson Middle School and the potential to alleviate it by modifying the attendance zones for Carson and Eagle Valley. The district held a town hall in November and has shared presentations at recent board meetings and the district’s bond oversight committee to inform parents and the community about potential scenarios showing Carson City’s growth in the next five to 10 years.
Eagle Valley was built on 20 acres owned by the school district and it has room to expand. Changing attendance zones takes into account the new housing developments recently approved by the city, which the school district has been tracking with the help of company Davis Demographics.
Using the plans approved by Carson City’s Board of Supervisors, Superintendent Richard Stokes has shared with the district’s Board of Trustees and members of the public in recent weeks that Carson Middle’s student enrollment could increase to 1,436 by the year 2025 while Eagle Valley’s numbers would drop to 540.
One map, according to the district, demonstrates a redistribution of students with similar enrollments at both schools by adding square footage to Eagle Valley to help manage student growth in the district, Stokes reported at last week’s Board of Trustees meeting.
The bond sale completed on Thursday, totaling $11 million, will help fund the Eagle Valley project and several smaller projects, but Feuling said the board previously authorized officials not to sell bonds for more than $20 million this year due to delays with the phase two environmental study in Carson City’s prospective 1600 Snyder Ave., purchase.
“We didn’t want to bond that money for Snyder not knowing if we were going to buy it,” Feuling said. “That’s on hold for now. … In February or March, when we get that environmental study back at that point, if the board decides they want to approve the purchase at that point, we would have the ability to bond again up to $9 million.”
In 2025, Feuling said, the district can reissue another $20 million and in 2029 it has the ability to bond again for $25 million.
Voter-approved rollover bonds authorize school boards to designate construction bonds. In 2015, the Legislature approved Senate Bill 119, which extended bond rollover funds from property taxes to keep the state’s schools in shape and the debt rate to continue through 2030.
Trustees last Tuesday asked about other associated costs included in the $8.2 million capital projects plan associated with building the classrooms. Trustee Laurel Crossman noted that comes close to $1 million per classroom.
Feuling, presenting at the meeting, said in addition to classrooms, the cost covers maintenance, storage space, restrooms and potentially nutritional expenses, but these details and other programming needs would have to be further discussed with Eagle Valley Principal Lee Conley.
Trustees also asked about future bonding capacity looking ahead to 2025 and even as far as 2029 and potential impacts of construction should Carson Middle School’s enrollment grow to the point where the community might need a third middle school, which Feuling said is a possibility.